As Pride continues to be celebrated this month there are some breweries that are looking at the rest of the calendar and working to find ways to bring action to LGBTQ+ initiatives year-round.
One such brewery is Migration in Portland, Oregon which announced earlier this month that it had formed a Pride committee that will work on regular programs that focus on employees and the community.
Through beer releases, programs, and events the committee has also been working to update Migration’s cultural mission, values, and inclusivity statements. A dry hopped hefeweizen named Colors of Love, was released in June and is available at the brewery and other locations. Proceeds from sales will support LGBTQ+ organizations in the Pacific Northwest.
All About Beer editor John Holl spoke with committee member and front of house supervisor Lily Merrill and Colby Schlicker the director of marketing about the committee.
John Holl: How did this committee come about?
Lily Merrill.: The Colors of Love campaign has been something that Migration has been doing for a while during Pride month of June. And Migration wanted to include LGBTQ queer folks of the company to be a part of the planning for Pride and also be a part of the messaging that we want to include in the year-round aspect of Pride and of celebrating LGBTQ.
It was about just trying to include as many people within this decision-making process as possible, and who would be good representation of LGBTQ and of Migration as well.
JH: As you get this rolling a little bit more, what’s the hope? What’s the goal to accomplish over the course of not just Pride month, but beyond?
LM: The hope and goal is to curate and highlight safe spaces within the beer community, especially here in Portland. And we want to curate safe spaces within our pubs and our breweries for LGBTQ and BIPOC folks as well in what is normally a very male, white male dominated industry.
So, in order to give space and voices to minorities, and those targeted demographics, in a space where it’s not usually seen very often is, is very important.
And so to have a committee for year round, highlighting these people in these communities it really shows that this isn’t just something that happens in one month, this is something that Migration acknowledges.
It is bringing together even the people within the Migration community to show that Migration does have this in its best interest and is highlighting these communities in a in a respectful, safe, and a very inclusive way.
Colby Schlicker: There’s also an internal aspect of it where, as a company, the leadership team has been really wanting to develop our culture. And kind of essentially mark it from the inside out. We want to listen to our employees and have a culture that as the company grows, as the company matures, that we are doing sort of those best-in-class things to, to listen to our employees to make them feel like the company, cares for them or respects them.
And that’s part what of the Pride committee was. We could go about launching this campaign and kind of do a one-month thing. But I think if we’re going to be authentic, and listen to our employees, it has to be year-round.
We’re going to continue to kind of meet with the committee year-round monthly and have initiatives that are internal and to the market, every month.
JH: This came up earlier when you were talking about creating safe spaces. Have you seen progress on that front?
LM: I think currently, and especially with Pride marketing and other companies and other initiatives and whatnot, through Pride, it has really highlighted the necessity to change direction or acknowledge and create those spaces.
And so, I think there is progress being made. It’s 2022 and we’re seeing a lot of companies get on the Pride wagon which is great, and it acknowledges the community.
I do think having more intention and having a look at more thoughtful ways of doing these things and incorporating LGBTQ within such a white male dominated community, such as the beer industry, is a big step that does need to be taken,
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.